Male and female belted kingfisher
Male and female belted kingfisher

2021/05/02 – The belted kingfisher

This has to be one of the most difficult bird to take good pictures of. Well at least this has been my experience with them at Lake Hodges. Either there are not a lot of them or they hide really well. And then, they always fly as far away as possible from you as soon as they notice you, even though you are very far away. So, all the pics in this series have been extremely enlarged, and, consequently, don’t have as much detail as usual.

The belted kingfisher, as its name indicates, catches and eats fish. As you will see in the pics, the female harbors this pretty reddish brown (which I just found out actually has a name: rufous) belt, while the male doesn’t.
Here are a few interesting facts about this bird:

  1. They are found pretty much all over the USA at one time or another, depending on migration patterns.
  2. They have completely black eyes, which, in my humble opinion, gives them a bit of an angry look.
  3. They tend to sit on a branch or a pole overlooking the water, watching for a fish coming near the surface to catch it.
  4. When courting the male brings fish to the female. Note that I didn’t find any indication of dancing or ceremonial behavior other than that.
  5. They dig a 3 to 6 feet tunnel in soft, sandy dirt banks, which ends in the nest chamber.
  6. Both sexes dig the nest and attend to the young.
  7. They can live between 6 and 14 years


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